The 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place from November 29-December 11 in Cancun, Mexico. The Conference was dogged by low expectations after a disastrous COP15 in Copenhagen last year and for some reason, it seems to have motivated the delegates to accomplish more.
On December 6, Natural Justice Associate Peter Wood wrote an article entitled “REDD+: Reducing the Risk“. At that point in the negotiations, many issues still weren’t resolved. By the end of the COP, the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action put forward this draft decision, which was adopted in the closing plenary in the wee hours of the morning on December 11. It is hoped to serve as the foundation for a necessary follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol once it expires in 2012. Section C is the first agreed text on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), but arguably does not provide sufficient language to uphold a strong mechanism that respects the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities.
However, not everyone was satisfied with the negotiations. Protests were staged throughout the two weeks and several delegates, including youth and Indigenous peoples, were removed from the venue and refused re-entry. Contrasting views on the outcomes of Cancun from Via Campesina, Bolivia, Friends of the Earth International, and Indigenous Environmental Network can be read here on the REDD-Monitor. The Triple Crisis blog on Finance, Development, and Environment asks “Cancun Success – Compared to What?“, along with other key questions in a compilation of guest articles. It is certain that civil society and Indigenous people’ organizations will need be extremely vigilant about setting their own high standards for companies and governments to adhere in order to ensure that their internationally recognized rights are respected and fulfilled.
ENB coverage of the entire COP, including side events, theme days, and summaries, can be accessed here.